Climate change is currently one of the most pressing global challenges. Climate change adaptation must encompass all regions, countries, and stakeholders, including political leaders, climate change activists, and policy makers. During the COP27 conference held in Egypt from November 6th to 18th, 2022, African leaders were tasked with presenting their governments’ efforts to safeguard their citizens from the impacts of climate change.
From 2018 to 2022, Kenya experienced reduced rainfall in certain regions, affecting over 4.1 million Kenyans due to prolonged rainfall deficits. In 2023, the African Climate Week (ACW) took place from September 4th to 8th in Nairobi, Kenya. During this event, various stakeholders came together to draft the Nairobi Declarations, a document that outlines Africa’s stance on climate change.
William Ruto, the President of Kenya who hosted the event, stated, “We are a continent in motion, a youthful, eco-conscious continent of the future, and we are committed to leading our journey into the future as a united, empowered provider of sustainable solutions to global challenges. We are collaborating, devising effective solutions, implementing them, confronting our challenges directly, making progress, and achieving results. This is what has brought Africa’s leadership in implementation to Nairobi, and it encapsulates the agenda of the Fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting.”
In several regions of Kenya that typically experience drought, there has been an unexpected surge in heavy rainfall leading to flooding. Areas such as Samburu, Marsabit, and Baringo have witnessed such heavy rainfall, resulting in flooding and fatalities. President Ruto had previously cautioned about heavy rainfall but clarified that it was not related to El Niño, as earlier forecasted by meteorologists. Both county and national governments had taken proactive measures by establishing emergency centers in affected areas, setting up dedicated emergency hotlines, and equipping health facilities to address potential health concerns. Additionally, they planned to drill boreholes to store water for future use in case of rainfall shortages and provided guidance to residents on rainwater harvesting.
As the impacts of climate change continue to intensify, African leaders called for urgent action from developed countries to reduce carbon emissions and proposed a new financing mechanism to restructure African debt and unlock climate funding. Emissions remain a critical issue when discussing climate change in Africa, and there is a need to find ways to address this matter. “Carbon credits” were discussed as a market mechanism to control global emissions. African countries are pushing for climate funding as many promises have been made with little concrete action, and they advocate for the development of clean energy technologies, supporting young innovators, and creating a fair environment for their innovations.
In November 2023, the world is preparing for COP28, where African countries aim to present a united front on climate change issues, guided by the Nairobi Declarations. Africa sees this as an opportunity to address climate change as a continent rather than as individual countries.
Story by: JESSE ABISHECK